Washington: Three astronauts of international space station are returning to Earth after a month-long delay.
Their departure was delayed following the failure of a rocket arranged in association with their return journey.
The trio have handed over the control of the ISS to Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka, after spending more than 200 days in space.
Among them, Samantha Cristoforetti, has set the world record for spending longest duration in space by a woman on a single mission. The 38-year-old Italian has gained an active follow up on Twitter during her time on the ISS. Through videos she has shown the way to do simple everyday tasks such as making a meal from space. They were really informative.
Their Soyuz spacecraft is due to start from the ISS at 11:20 BST and expected to land in Kazakhstan after traveling more than three hours.
The commander of Expedition 43, Terry Virts, and his crew-mates Anton Shkaplerov and Ms Cristoforetti have spent almost seven months on board the ISS carrying out scientific researches and technology demonstrations.
According to Nasa press release, they have traveled more than 84 million miles since their launch into space on 24 November.
They were originally due to leave a month ago, but their departure was delayed after the failure of a supply spaceship. The out-of-control unmanned Progress M-27M was burnt up as
it re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere.
Thus the three ISS astronauts were forced to postpone their return journey to Earth by a month
The return of the Soyuz spacecraft carrying the trio back to Earth closed at 08:04 BST.
Expedition 44 formally begins when the Soyuz lands. It will be led by Mr Padalka, alongside fellow crew members US astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko. Three more astronauts are due to join them in July.
Video on the delay of the ISS astronauts